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PSNI - 'TRAINING DEFICIT' QUERY TO CHIEF CONSTABLE
The Secretary General of the Celtic League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot has renewed his attack on attitudes towards the Irish language exhibited by members of the PSNI. In a strongly worded letter to Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, (copied to Irish and British government Ministers) he points out that the Police Service of Northern Ireland is not
Cathal Ó Luain pour Celtic League le 8/10/06 10:35

The Secretary General of the Celtic League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot has renewed his attack on attitudes towards the Irish language exhibited by members of the PSNI.

In a strongly worded letter to Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, (copied to Irish and British government Ministers) he points out that the Police Service of Northern Ireland is not meeting principles laid down for it in the Patten Report.

League concerns have been prompted by the arrest and forthcoming trial of Máire Nic an Bhaird (see Celtic News No. 1999 - PSNI NOT 'ON MESSAGE' OVER LANGUAGE RIGHTS - August 2006).

The Secretary General asks the Chief Constable if "the actions of the arresting Officer" in the case "highlight a deficit in professional development or training among PSNI staff".

The full text of his letter is set out below.

J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League

02/09/06

"HUGH ORDE Chief Constable PSNI Private Office, Brooklyn, 65 Knock Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT5 6L E

Dear Hugh Orde

Arrest and Trial of Máire Nic an Bhaird, Belfast

On the 6th September 2006, the above named person will stand trial at Laganside Courts in Belfast charged with obstruction and disorderly behaviour. However, Máire Nic an Bhaird's only offence it seems was to continue speaking her native Irish language in the street with her teacher colleagues, when approached by an officer of the PSNI and ordered to stop.

You may already be aware of the details of the case, due to the scale of public outrage at such injustice. My reason for writing to you is to question, in view of such behaviour on the part of a police officer, the commitment the new PSNI has to the Good Friday Agreement and the Pattern Commission. Such intolerant behaviour is reminiscent the RUC and Seamus Mallon's claim that it was 100% unionist. Is the PSNI so different?

The Pattern report on Policing clearly states that:

'All police officers, and police civilians, should be trained (and updated as required) in the fundamental principles and standards of human rights and the practical implications for policing. The human rights dimension should be integrated into every module of police training.'

[para. 4.9]

'Awareness of human rights issues and respect for human rights in the performance of duty should be an important element in the appraisal of individuals in the police service.'

[para. 4.10]

In addition, in The Agreement under the heading Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity - Economic, Social and Cultural issues we can see that:

'3. All participants recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in Northern Ireland, the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and the languages of the various ethnic communities, all of which are part of the cultural wealth of the island of Ireland.'

Do the actions of the arresting Officer highlight a deficit in professional development or training among PSNI staff, in relation to the provisions made in the Pattern Report and the Good Friday Agreement and knowledge of human rights in general? Or is the arresting Officer, in your opinion, an anomaly in the Force? We would be interested to hear your views on this issue.

We look forward to receiving a response.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secetary Celtic League

Cc

Paul Goggins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (UK)

Michael McDowell TD, Minister for Justice, Equality et Law Reform (RoI)

Bertie Ahern TD, Taoiseach (RoI)"

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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)
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